close
close

Starmer pledges to curb migration as Sunak offers community care

Starmer pledges to curb migration as Sunak offers community care

Sir Keir Starmer pledged to reduce levels of migration to the UK, while Rishi Sunak promised more community care services in his first major health offer of the election campaign.

The Labor leader has included the migration plan in his programme, and it will include passing laws to ban employers who break the law from hiring foreign workers and to train more Britons.

Last year’s figure of 685,000 net migrants “must come down”, he told The Sun on Sunday, promising to “police our borders and ensure British businesses are helped to hire Britons in first “.

While encroaching on traditional Tory territory, Sir Keir criticized successive Tory governments for promising but failing to reduce the numbers.

A Labor government would ban bosses who break labor laws – for example by not paying the minimum wage – from hiring foreigners, the newspaper reports.

It would also legislate to link the immigration system to training, with companies applying for foreign worker visas having to train Britons to do the job.

Sir Keir refused to specify the target level of migrant numbers or a timetable.

He will seek to deflect attention from the Diane Abbott row that has marred his campaign, but tough talks on migration could risk inflaming tensions with the Labor left.

A Sunday Times report that a number of leftists, including Ms Abbott, were offered peerages in return for resigning, could also reignite infighting.

They were told they would be elevated to Lords if they made way for allies of the ruling team in their seats, according to the newspaper.

Despite the debacle caused by Ms Abbott’s candidacy, the Labor Party saw its lead over the Conservatives widen to 20 points in an Opinium poll. Sir Keir’s party has a score of 45% – up four points since last weekend – while the Conservatives are down two percentage points, with a score of 25%.

It’s a blow for the prime minister, who is seeking to revive his campaign by promising to boost community care.

Around 100 new GP practices and 50 community diagnostic centers would be built if it remained in 10th, funded by a huge reduction in the number of NHS managers, the Conservatives said.

They have committed to expanding their Pharmacy First program, which allows patients to access certain treatments through their pharmacy without first consulting a GP.

Mr Sunak said the proposals would make it “quicker, easier and more convenient for patients to receive the care they need and help ease pressure on hospital services”.

But shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said the Tories had cut 1,700 GPs since 2016, adding: “Patients are finding it harder than ever to see a GP, so why would they trust this last empty promise?

The Liberal Democrats also attacked the Conservatives’ health record.

Sir Ed Davey’s party has promised to reverse £1bn Tory cuts to public health grants, which provide local authorities with funds for public health projects.

The Liberal Democrats said they would fund investment in local services by cracking down on tax evasion.

Labor also reiterated its promise to replace the Conservatives’ “botched” apprenticeship tax with a new growth and skills tax, allowing businesses to use up to 50% of their contributions to fund training through paths other than learning.

Rishi Sunak and the Tory battle busRishi Sunak and the Tory battle bus

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the Conservative campaign bus launch at Redcar Racecourse (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson said: “Businesses are crying out for help to tackle skills shortages, which is why Labor will give them the flexibility to create skills training opportunities and boost Economic Growth. »

But Education Secretary Gillian Keegan claimed “this ill-considered policy would halve the number of apprenticeships, cut the budget by £1.5 billion and disadvantage small and medium-sized businesses”.

Sir Keir and Mr Sunak appear to be taking the day off to tour the country on Sunday after a busy week of campaigning which culminated with the launch of their parties’ battle buses on Saturday.

Health Secretary Victoria Atkins will promote the Conservative health plan on the Sunday morning show, with Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper speaking for Labour.

North of the border, Prime Minister John Swinney will urge people to “vote for the SNP to put Scotland’s interests first” as he officially launches the party’s general election campaign in Glasgow.